The Plastic Free Week organised by Jenny Lanham was a great success with from 67 people from transition Shipston and all around the world participating including Roz Savage (solo ocean rower and environmental campaigner) and her team signed up for the challenge as well. Jenny says:
Overall everyone found the challenge difficult, but fun and thought provoking. It opened our eyes to just how much of what were consume is wrapped in plastic - and were inspired by each others creative solutions to getting around it! I used the butcher and, (funny look aside) enjoyed the experience of getting my meat wrapped in paper and then put in my own container for transport home. Plastic wrapped ready made meals and convenience foods were OUT, meals using fresh produce were IN. Every morning was started with porridge instead of cold cereal. I don't think I was alone in eating healthier meals. Oddly enough it seems that the more packaging, the more preservatives, e numbers, etc.
The challenge made us reflect on our purchasing habits. We rarely consider that the plastic products we use to transport our food is used for a matter of minutes, but will be in the environment for hundreds of years. Most of this wrap is not currently recyclable, but even that which is uses considerable resources to re-invent for other uses. I was shocked to read this week that disposable nappies take 400-500 years to breakdown (releasing noxious methane gas in the process) and that there are an estimated 9 million nappies disposed of EACH DAY in the UK alone. In our desire for speed and convenience we are creating a HUGE problem for our children and grandchildren. Why not make a lifestyle change to eliminate plastic in the first place?
Sadly, not one person reported back having been successful at not buying any plastic. Personally I got caught when buying a set of cake and biscuit tins - the one inside was wrapped in plastic, and also a Sunday paper which had mags inside wrapped in plastic. However, I certainly have learned a lot - I'm sticking with my new milk man and shopping smart to reduce my plastic consumption.
Comments from others:
So I have been thinking about plastic consumption for the past few days and realized that most of what we consume is encased in plastic. I have to provide refreshments for a large event tomorrow and just bought a number of things in plastic. Agh. So basically I am incapable of buying plastic free. I honestly had never realized before just how much everything around here is packaged in that shiny stuff. Thanks for making me more aware. I will definitely look at my shopping a little differently now. I will continue to try to purchase plastic free this week.
Keri Utah, USA
We dont have plastic water bottles in the house anymore and only use metal refillable ones. We recycle our plastic bags, usually they are biodegradable ones. Always use the reusable bags for other stuff and cardboard for wine and beer etc. But so difficult to buy certain things such as cleaning stuff and cordial unless it is in plastic although I get the eco friendly stuff when I can. Kids lunches are in brown paper bags or foil. If there were more options in the shops we would buy without plastic. Also tends to be difficult when you are trying to spend less as the cheaper items are packaged appart from vegies. Teenage kids don't help as shiny plastic seems to cover everything they want. Also it was back to school last week so had to buy all their school stuff which is of course half in plastic and the other half cardboard. Also shampoo etc non of it comes eco friendly. Hope this helps. Sorry I couldn't do any better. When you think about it it stinks really. In WA all things should be solar with so much sun but alas its not.
Major fail here. The first week of the month is when I do my big supermarket shop for the whole of the month, could have put it off I guess till the next week (though I will fess-up that I was distracted by a sick kid and forgot about plastic-free). It's made me focus my mind on plastic consumption but, even as a Mom who doesn't work outside the home, I would struggle to get my shopping needs without plastic in terms of time, availability and money, I reckon
It was fun - and educational! I decided I really wanted cheese, and bought some even though it was plastic-wrapped. And chips - but I bought the bag with the least amount of plastic. I do want to replenish my frozen veggie supply now though.